a whole world of anime

Anime Network UK Shows
Friday, 27 August 2010 22:25

Anime NetworkUsing Anime Network's website if you're in the UK is an exercise in frustration - while there's a decent selection of titles available to the UK, there's no way of telling on the site (even the version) what's region-locked and what isn't without loading an episode - and as often as not that's met by the dreaded "IP Blocked by Region" message. Some determined effort, though, and it's possible to create a list of what's available - so for the benefit of everyone else, below the cut you can find a list of what's available to us UK folk...

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Crunchyroll Breaks Even
News and Events
Friday, 27 August 2010 16:51

CrunchyrollThis little snippet first broke on ANNCast, Anime News Network's weekly podcast, a few weeks ago but has now been picked up by the 'mainstream media': the streaming service that we seem to love to hate (or maybe that's 'hate to love') is now breaking even, at a time when most of the rest of the western anime industry would have us believe that the sky is falling. Wired UK takes a look at the development - and some of the reasons behind it - whilst wryly noting that Shinji and co have managed something that certain larger, higher-profile video services (::cough::YouTube::cough::) are still trying o do.

I'll admit that I've always viewed Crunchyroll with a certain amount of disdain - I'm still not comfortable with the way they built their audience on mass piracy before completing their miraculous turnaround into a legit business. That said, they're the best example of an anime streaming service out there, with their simulcasts leading the charge, and for that they've been getting my subscription money for quite a while now. If the money is now rolling in instead of out, it looks like they'll be with us for a while, too.

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JPop Band Electric Eel Shock on UK Tour
News and Events
Friday, 27 August 2010 00:00

Electric Eel ShockVia comes work that eccentric Japanese band Electric Eel Shock will be touring the UK and Ireland this September. Apparently, you can expect "extreme energy, pure rock devotion and more than anyone's fair share of nudity", which certainly sound intriguing. There's an interview with the band in NEO Magazine #66, for more of a taster. Check below the cut for the full schedule.

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5cm per Second Blu-ray Release Shelved
News and Events
Wednesday, 25 August 2010 10:41

5cm per SecondThe Blu-ray release of Makoto Shinkai's latest work, 5cm per Second, which was tentatively scheduled to be released along with the DVD edition next March, has been shelved by Manga UK. The decision appears to flow from Japanese concerns over reverse-importation - as Western releases carry a Japanese soundtrack and are significantly cheaper than their Japanese equivalents, there's a fear on the part of the licensors that the discs could be imported back into Japan, affecting sales there. How justified those fear are remain to be seen. Manga have said that a Blu-ray release will happen "eventually", but that may be as far as a few years away.

With 5cm per Second being the first of Shinkai's movies that was created specifically with HD in mind, preventing a Blu-ray release seems rather harsh of the Japanese licensors. Not that there's much we can do about it.

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Satoshi Kon Passes Away
News and Events
Tuesday, 24 August 2010 18:55

Satoshi KonTwitter has been awash this afternoon with the news that Satoshi Kon, director of TV series Paranoia Agent and movies Perfect Blue and Paprika - amongst may other titles - has passed away, aged just 47. The news was confirmed by animation studio Madhouse's Masao Maruyama. The cause of death as been given as pancreatic cancer.

To some, Kon was one of the greatest directors currently working - certainly he was someone who wasn't afraid to do something different, at a time when most animation studios are leaning towards the safe options. He will be missed.

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Eirtakon Ireland Lands in October
News and Events
Tuesday, 24 August 2010 12:31


Eirtakon is Ireland's largest anime event, or so their banner claims, and this year's event will be taking place at the Helix (on the campus of University College Dublin) on 15-17 October. Guest of Honour this year is Spike Spencer, with a full programme of other events scheduled for the weekend. Read on for the full press release for the event.

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Nozomi Streams Tylor, Ninja Nonsense to the UK
News and Events
Wednesday, 18 August 2010 13:30

Irresponsible Captain TylorNinja Nonsense

Just discovered this yesterday - Nozomi Entertainment's YouTube channel is currently streaming both Irresponsible Captain Tylor and Ninja Nonsense, with both shows available to UK viewers. Tylor in particular is a must see, an almost unique blend of comedy and space opera that's standing the test of time really well - you can read our review of the TV series for more details.

Ninja Nonsense is more light-hearted fare - originally aired in Japan as 2x2=Shinobuden, it features ninja-in-training Shinobu and her new best friend Kaede as they fight off the attentions of ninja school headmaster Onsokumaru (a highly-perverted yellow blob), with the rest of the school's rather clueless students (all conveniently named Sasuke) helping or hindering, depending on their mood. First time I saw this I laughed by head off at it - now, a few years later, it's maybe not so funny, but still has some appeal.

Both shows are streaming with their English-language dub (which I suspect has a lot to do with Ninja Nonsense's drop in the funnies), and each episode is only available for a limited time - but if you start now you can still begin each show from episode one. Both shows are also available to iPhone / iPad users. Here are the links you'll need:
Irresponsible Captain Tylor
Ninja Nonsense

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Sentai Scores Uta-Kata, Taisho Baseball Girls
Wednesday, 18 August 2010 10:58

Sentai Filmworks released their November slate yesterday, and as is now traditional for them it contained two new titles: Uta-Kata, and Taisho Baseball Girls.

Uta-KataUta-Kata dates from 2004, and is an unusual take on the magical girl genre from Keiji Gotoh (better known for Kiddy Grade, amongst other things). The series sees young girl Ichika being guided through a series of tests by mysterious friend Manatsu, who first appeared out of a mirror - but with each test growing harder and Ichika having problems controlling the magical powers that she's required to use, it soon becomes apparent that Ichika has some difficult choices ahead. This is from my personal "we'll never see it" list, and I see from the outpouring of glee on Twitter yesterday when the release was announced that I'm not alone in being glad to see it finally hit the West. Already pre-ordered. It'll ship as a 13-episode complete collection (that's the 12-episode TV series and follow-up OVA), subtitled-only, on 2 November.

Taisho Baseball GirlsThe other title, Taisho Baseball Girls, was new to me but also sounds intriguing. Dating from 2009, the series is based on two historical slice-of-life novels by Atsushi Kagurazaka and follows Koume and Akiko, two 14-year-old girls, who are determined to prove that girls can be just as good as boys by forming a baseball team - and this during a time when such things were very much not expected of females. Again, its release is subtitled-only, and its the streets as a complete collection 16 November.

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Beez Amecon Licenses
Saturday, 14 August 2010 14:07

As I type, Beez's Andrew Partridge is on stage at Amecon, leading the company's industry panel. He'd set up a "guess the license" game earlier in the week, with clues given for four new titles, and the first order of business was to give the answers: their new titles are Sora Kake Girl (The Girl Who Leapt Through Space), Sora no Woto, Lucky Star and, from the archives, Outlaw Star. Read on for more details.

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FUNimation Picks Up Gai-Rei Zero
Saturday, 14 August 2010 12:57

Gai-Rei ZeroFUNimation have picked up paranormal / action series Gai-Rei Zero - although apparently the first few episodes of the series appeared on their YouTube channel before they got around to making the announcement. The series follow a young girl, Kagura, who works for the Japanese Ministry of Defence's Paranormal Disaster Countermeasure Headquarters (PDCH). The organisation's name probably tells you all you need to know. The online streaming is sadly not available to UK viewers (at least, not yet), but the 12-episode series is also set to get a DVD release in early 2011.
Via: ANN

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